Evolution of Aerospace Materials and Advanced Machining

Demands for airframe and exterior resiliency without sacrificing weight and fuel savings remains the holy grail of aviation. While many materials have been tried throughout the 20th Century to achieve this balance, their use is regulated by aerospace machining provider’s ability to produce them.

Early Attempts at Metal Planes

The world’s first all-metal airplane actually dates to 1915 when aviation pioneer Hugo Junkers built a tubular-framed metal fuselage covered with corrugated sheet iron. Unfortunately, while the metal surface made the aircraft stiffer and stronger, its surface roughness resulted in significant drag. Additionally, surfaces were custom-crafted for each plane, which made them slow to machine and assemble. Sheet metal skin and ribs, held together by rivets, made an appearance in the late 1920s but the usage of these materials for aircraft was still in its infancy.

Age of Aluminum

The 1930s saw the rise of aluminum aerospace machining in aircraft. At the time, the material seemed to have all the right attributes: lightweight, inexpensive, easy to machine, and it featured a modern, sleek exterior appearance. It introduced the era of the silver plane, a term still used within aviation today, often with nostalgia. At one time, nearly 70% of aircraft had skin and airframes made from this metal. Stainless steel construction came soon thereafter, followed by advanced superalloys following WWII and titanium in the early 1960s, mostly for military aircraft. At each step, aerospace machining techniques and processes had to evolve to keep pace with experimental new materials.

Composites Arrive

The first carbon fiber composites were introduced for aerospace materials in the 1970s. They are exceptionally lightweight, yet can be made to a tensile strength roughly five times that of steel. Composite aerospace components are used with epoxy resins and plastic to form a matrix that keeps fibers together as one-piece designs. As a result, these pre-formed components reduce the numbers of joints and heavy fasteners, which are potential weak spots. In today’s aircraft, one-piece designs are used wherever possible.

Aerospace Machining Keeps Pace

New metals and composite materials continue to be developed for lighter weight, increased strength, and for corrosion and heat resistance. At the same time, advances in aerospace machining and cutting are keeping pace with the evolution of aircraft construction. For nearly 40 years, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines have greatly contributed to the manufacture of a wide range of aircraft parts, sections or exterior panels. These automated aerospace machining and milling devices make components for aviation use without direct human intervention. Many large and small CNC units exist, from cutters to drills, for producing a variety of parts.

The aerospace machining industry continuously experiments with new techniques and tools to make the latest materials for tomorrow’s aircraft producible on a mass scale.

Extend the Life of Your CNC Machines With These Three Tips

Photo Of A CNC Machine - CMS North AmericaWhen using the CNC machines, it is always good to conduct routine maintenance to ensure a quality output. Some companies are usually so busy serving their customers that they often overlook the need to do maintenance. However, taking the time to perform maintenance helps prevent an expensive breakdown while ensuring the machine’s maximum longevity.

1. Lubrication

Tools such as the spindles, cutters, and other moving parts are used daily. These tools are likely to break, chip, or sustain dents when they are not well maintained. The operator should identify these tools and lubricate them as often as need be. It’s also important to use the right oil or grease to prevent any possible CNC machining problems.

2. Use the Correct Speeds and Feeds

For best results, it is important to run the CNC machine while using the right speeds and feeds. It is necessary to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations while taking into account the material, tool’s diameter, the arrangement of inserts, and the width and depth of the cut. Nowadays, companies can use a special “feeds and speeds” calculator to make the selection easy.

3. Do Not Recut Chips

Recutting chips is harmful to the life and security of the machine. Therefore, it should be avoided at all cost. It may also lead to chip jamming and cutting edge fractures. This problem is common when milling deep pockets and cavities on vertical materials. The coolant can be set up correctly to eliminate the chips easily. Additionally, splitting a deep cut into several passes can help solve this problem.

By adhering to these simple maintenance and application tips, companies can ensure their CNC machines are running at the optimum performance while assuring a reliable production process. Inspecting the machine regularly also helps to note parts and tools that may cause potential problems in the future.

Photo Credit: Colin

A Manufacturer’s Guide to Laser Cutting vs. Waterjet Cutting

Photo Of A Laser Cut Pattern - CMS North AmericaLaser cutting and waterjet cutting are the two most commonly used methods of material cutting for manufacturers across all industries. Learn about each of these cutting methods, the machines that perform them, and the unique advantages and disadvantages of each.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting machines use a gas laser (typically CO2), beamed and directed by mirrors, to cut a wide variety of materials with extreme precision. With CO2 lasers, the source of the laser is found within the laser cutting machine. Laser cutters can typically beam their lasers at an output of 1.5 to 2.6 kilowatts, and because of the fineness of the laser, machines can cut with precision as fine as 0.006 inches depending on the material. Laser cutters can be used effectively on a number of materials, including glass, plastic, wood, and many metals. However, CO2 laser cutters should not be used on highly reflective materials. Instead, solid-state fiber optic lasers, which use amplified light in fiber optic cables, should be used due to their significantly lower refractivity.

Laser Cutting by the Numbers

  • Beam output: 1.5-2.6 kilowatts
  • Maximum cutting slit thinness (precision): 0.006 inches
  • Optimal material thickness range for cutting: 0.12-0.4 inches
  • Materials: glass, plastic, wood, and metals

Waterjet Cutting

Unlike laser cutting, waterjet cutting uses pressurized water emitted at high speeds to cut materials. Often, a granular abrasive such as garnet is added to the water to increase the jet’s cutting power. With outputs ranging from 60,000 to 90,000 psi, waterjets can cut a wide range of materials in varying levels of thickness. Though typically somewhat less precise than laser cutters, waterjet cutting machines do not produce a “heat-affected zone” on the materials they cut where the heat emitted from a laser cutter can warp the material closest to the cut. In instances where thick or highly reflective metal must be cut, waterjet machines are much more effective than their laser-emitting counterparts.

Waterjet Cutting by the Numbers

  • Jet output: 60,000 to 90,000 psi
  • Maximum cutting slit thinness (precision): 0.02 inches
  • Optimal material thickness range for cutting: 0.4-2.0 inches, but with CMS/Tecnocut’s IKC technology (Intelligent Kerf Compensation) added to the waterjet’s cutting nozzle the output tube can be angled so that the waterjet can cut from the side of the cutting stream’s “cone” at a greater depth, since the angle of the cutting nozzle is being controlled to cut with the side of the “cone” rather than from the center of the stream.
  • Materials: virtually any materials to thicknesses over 12 inches

Overall, both methods of cutting offer unique benefits depending on the type of material, precision requirements, and thickness of the cut. Talking with a professional about industry standards, desired outputs, and material usage can offer additional guidance.

Photo Credit: With Associates

4 Advantages of Using Honeycomb Composites

Photo Of A Machining Worker - CMS North AmericaHoneycomb composites were inspired by honeycomb weathering and beehives. Their aim is to reduce the amount of material being used, to consequently reduce the weight and cost of the final product. Honeycomb composites are made from different materials, such as stainless steel, aramid fiber, aluminum, and thermoplastic. They are commonly used in the marine and aerospace industries due to their lightweight and tough designs. The demand for these structures is increasing due to their relatively high shear and compression properties and their low density. Here are four of the advantages of these materials.

1. Reduced Cost

Many businesses prefer these lightweight materials to plastic and wood due to direct and indirect cost reductions. Honeycomb composites are cheaper to buy, handle, package, and transport. Being paper or metal-based products also makes them easier to dispose of while offering recycling cost-savings. This is because they are 100% renewable and recyclable.

2. Exceptional Strength-to-Weight Ratio

Honeycomb composites have become the ideal alternative to wood and concrete, especially in packaging and construction applications. They weigh about 4 to 5 times less than wood and 10 times less than concrete. They are strong and boast a high unidirectional compression resistance.

3. Fire and Fungus Resistant

These materials are usually multi-layered to provide high fire protection. Some structures come with cement-coated cells that ensure maximum resistance. Additionally, they are unaffected by water and most solvents, making them resistant to rot and corrosion.

4. Optimum Thermal Insulation

Honeycomb structures have a higher ability to dissipate heat thanks to their dead air spaces and polypropylene cell walls. This helps to prevent the accumulation of heat in the cells to avoid exceeding the heat deflection temperatures. Some options use foam to achieve even greater thermal insulation.

Trulite Glass & Aluminum orders 11 Brembana Vertec (Vertical Machining Technology) CNC’s from CMSNA

Looking to upgrade the CNC machining capabilities at several of their 28 locations throughout the United States and Canada, Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions turned to CMS North America. Ultimately, Trulite will be receiving 11 Brembana VERTEC CNC vertical machining centers, to be delivered in the first quarter of this year.

Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions is one of the largest fabricators of architectural glass and aluminum in North America. The company specializes in architectural aluminum, insulated units, mirrors, and tempered, laminated, and decorative glass components, all manufactured in-house by Trulite. To ensure that their products continue to meet the high standards of quality that customers have come to expect, Trulite knew they needed the best and most versatile CNC machining technology available. Having used our innovative CNC equipment in the past, they knew CMSNA was the place to get it.

Vertec Vertical Milling Machine

“Trulite locations throughout North American have had a very successful partnership in the past years with numerous CMS CNC machines already supporting our operations. We are excited to continue [that partnership] with these latest purchases,” said Trulite Executive Vice President Paul Mahedy. “Very competitive cycle times [and] ease of operator use, combined with the most efficient operating cost makes CMS CNC machines an ideal choice for Trulite. We look forward to our continued partnership with CMS Brembana.”

Our Brembana family of CNC systems are specially engineered for high speed, high precision production of glass pieces of all shapes and sizes. The Brembana line includes CNC machining centers, CNC glass cutting tables, and vertical CNC drill and milling machines, as well as integrated lines and customized systems.

Trulite’s VERTEC vertical mills will be installed and calibrated by CMS’ expert technicians to guarantee perfect accuracy, precision, and repeatability. Included with Trulite’s machining centers will be AutoCam software and SPM (Smart Production Manager) for the management of bar code, CNC, and data files, operator interaction, and overall machine supervision.

For more information about Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions, visit trulite.com. To learn more about CMS North America’s Brembana line of CNC glass machining centers, contact us today.

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CMS Delivers Innovative CNC Features for Aerospace Manufacturing

If you’re a manufacturer of, well, just about anything for aerospace, you know the importance of precision and repeatability. Few industries are subject to stricter regulations or higher expectations. As such, manufacturing any aerospace part or component, no matter how large or small, can present significant challenges. To meet the unique needs of aerospace OEMs and parts manufacturers, CMS Industries’ CNC machining centers include numerous innovative features you won’t find anywhere else.

Mobile Bridge Structures, Guide Rails & Beams

For manufacturers of large-scale aerospace components, and/or those who want to perform multiple machining processes simultaneously, many of CMS’ CNC systems are built with large work envelopes. To ensure high dynamic properties and superior accuracy in large operating spaces, our systems include specialized mobile bridge structures, guide rails, and structural beams.

CMS Mobile Bridge Structure

High-mounted guide rails on our mobile bridges provide the CNC tools with maximum accessibility to the workpiece. They also offer excellent modularity and make a very long X-axis possible, while minimizing the mass of the system’s moving parts (i.e., the beams).

Each CNC machining center’s beam—which moves along the guide rails and carries the workhead as it operates—is constructed as a single section. The most critical moving part for precision manufacturing, these beams feature a large center distance between their Y guides; this provides exceptional torsional rigidity for the entire assembly. For optimum rigidity, the weight of the beam is also critical. Our engineers specify light, hollow structures with stringers and ribs that provide high strength with low weight. Structural dimensioning is performed via FEA (finite element analysis) to achieve the perfect balance between rigidity and weight.

Engineered for Unparalleled Accuracy & Repeatability

With large-scale CNC machining centers such as these, maintaining accuracy and repeatability can be difficult. CMS Industries’ CNC systems are specially engineered to hold their tolerances and alignment and for easy adjustment should recalibration be required.

Our machining centers’ high-mounted guide rails feature double-adjustable shoulders to help compensate for any eventual settling of the machine’s foundation under its expansive X-axes, and the beam-and-rack system includes specially-designed mechanical couplings that provide reliable motion control. To counteract thermal expansion, should such a challenge present itself, actual measurements are acquired in real time by a system of thermal probes embedded in the machine, allowing the CNC system to perform automatic compensations.

All CMS CNC machining centers include state-of-the-art interfaces, direct encoders, and CNC drives from industry-leading providers. Our proprietary software offers advanced options for high speed machining with no loss of precision, accuracy, or repeatability. All mechanical components are manufactured in-house to ensure our own high standards of quality are met.

CMS designs, engineers, and manufactures the electrospindles for our CNC machining centers. We provide numerous options to give our customers the best solution for the material(s) with which they’ll be working.

The Right Solution for YOUR Machining Needs

CMS mobile bridge

CMS North America offers a range of CNC machining options for aerospace manufacturing. We have large format moving bridges, “standard” moving bridges, moving gantry systems, and moving table systems, as well as custom CNC machines.

Contact us today for more information on our high performance CNC machining centers.

Wood CNC Machining with CMS North America

Woodworking for the modern world takes a lot more than a stack of lumber and some hand tools. To meet today’s standards, you need woodworking tools that provide exceptional accuracy, precision, and repeatability. CMS North America’s CNC wood machining centers are the world’s ultimate woodworking tools.

Versatile, Accurate, Dependable

CMS North America offers a full line of high precision, high speed CNC machining centers for woodworking applications. Moving or fixed gantry systems, systems with moving tables or moving bridges, custom configurations, and more are available, making it easy to find the right CNC system for your woodworking needs.

Drawing on our decades of technological and engineering experience, we have configured these CNC systems to provide unparalleled performance in all woodworking operations, including milling, drilling, routing, sawing, sanding, and more.

With CMS CNC machining centers, no design is too complex. Specialized 3- and 5-axis machining heads with optional automatic tool changers make it possible to machine any wooden part with perfect accuracy. A range of work envelope sizes are available to accommodate even your largest projects. Small, intricate pieces for musical instruments, huge, timberframe construction components, and everything in between can be produced quickly and efficiently.

And it’s not just their physical tools that make CMS North America’s CNC wood machining centers so effective. Because they’re readily compatible with CAD, CAM, and other digital file formats, our CNC systems make it easy to create finished parts that match your exact designs. Tight dimensional tolerances, specialty finishes, unique geometries—almost anything is possible. CNC operation also ensures perfect repeatability for high quantity production.

In a perfect example of the balance between our systems’ mechanical and digital capabilities, certain models can be equipped with dual workheads for even greater productivity. Two separate operations can be performed at once, or two separate workpieces can be machined simultaneously, helping you turn out more products in less time.

All our CNC wood machining centers are built on robust, heavy-duty frames. These support systems are engineered to minimize extraneous movement and vibration for even greater accuracy, and are manufactured from durable materials for extremely long service life with minimal maintenance requirements.

The Best CNC Technology for Woodworking

With a CNC wood machining center from CMS North America, you’ll get the world’s best CNC woodworking technology along with unrivaled service and support. Contact us today to find out why woodworkers all over the world choose CMS.

Precision Plastics Machining with CMS’ CNC Technology

Thanks to their adaptability and availability, plastics in some form or another are used in just about every product on the planet—not only as parts of the products themselves, but also in the manufacturing processes that create them. The sheer number of varieties available can make it difficult to process and machine plastics accurately; the specific requirements of the countless industries and applications in which they’re used makes it even harder. Fortunately, CMS North America offers an array of high accuracy, high speed CNC machining centers that are specifically designed for plastic work.

TmaxiSintexAthena

 Cutting-Edge CNC Solutions for Plastics

CMS has decades of experience in the design and manufacture of CNC machining centers. We’ve learned what works, what doesn’t, and why, and have put that know-how to good use, engineering specialized systems that deliver the fastest, most efficient, and most versatile plastics machining capabilities. From the compact Sintex model to the large-footprint Sintesy system to customized models, we have the ideal CNC plastic machining system for your unique needs.

Whether you’re working with common plastic varieties like PVC or nylon, or more specialized “engineered plastics” like Ultem and Torlon, our CNC centers will deliver unmatched precision. CNC operation allows for pinpoint accuracy and incredibly tight dimensional tolerances, as well as perfect repeatability from the first piece to the ten-millionth.

CMS North America’s CNC plastic machining centers utilize high speed, 5-axis work heads that provide high power, torque, and responsiveness for cutting, drilling, milling, forming, and other plastic processing operations. Select models are available with dual work zones, automatic tool changers, and automated material feed systems that allow for nonstop, pendular work cycles and improved productivity. As long as material is available, these systems can work 24/7 with minimal operator interaction.

Because different plastics have different physical properties and respond differently to the heat and pressure machining processes create, advanced software automatically adjusts the system’s performance to accommodate different material types.

Our CNC systems are readily compatible with CAD, CAM, and many other digital design formats. Your designs can be uploaded directly to the machine. This ensures that the end product will match your designs exactly, as well as making operation easier.

The Leaders in CNC Plastics Machining

CMS’ innovative, industry-leading CNC systems are used by manufacturers all around the world for a broad spectrum of applications, from cutting car dashboard panels to machining skylight frames. Contact CMS North America today to find out what our CNC machining centers can do for you.

Special CNCSintesy

CMS Brembana: The Future of CNC Glass Cutting

Glass cutting is a wide-ranging industry, serving everything from building construction to electronics manufacturing. It’s also a difficult industry to excel in: accurately cutting glass is one thing, doing it over and over and over again—and getting it right every time—is something else entirely. But with a CNC glass machining center from CMS North America, high speed, highly accurate, and highly repeatable glass cutting and finishing has never been easier.

The Right Glass Machining Solution for Any Application

Every glass machining application is different, and requires a different set of capabilities for optimum success. To meet your unique glass cutting needs, CMS North America offers the Brembana family of CNC glass machining centers. Ranging from simple cutting-table models to vertical glass processing machines to custom systems, the Brembana line has the perfect solution for every application.

Built on our 30-plus years of experience and innovation, our CNC technology provides one-of-a-kind versatility for the machining of complex glass pieces. Our glass cutting systems can perform cutting, grooving, and beveling operations, 3- and 4-axis routing, and full 5-axis machining. No design is too intricate and no tolerance is too tight for CMS CNC technology.

        Solar Panels

With work spindles ranging from 18 to 40 HP available, capable of speeds up to 15,000 RPM, Brembana glass machining centers provide high speed cutting, shaping, and finishing. Automatic cooling and lubrication systems ensure continued performance over long machining processes and high volume production runs.

Our glass machining systems are readily compatible with numerous digital file formats—including CAD and CAM—allowing you to directly input your design files. Your finished parts will match your designs exactly, and you’ll never need to worry about details getting lost or jumbled in translation. Digital compatibility, combined with high precision CNC machining capabilities, guarantees perfect part-to-part repeatability from the first piece to the last.

Select Brembana models are available with optional dual cutting heads for even greater productivity. This allows two different machining operations to be performed simultaneously, or two separate workpieces to be machined at once. Optional automatic tool changers can further reduce production time.


The World’s Best Glass CNC Machining Systems

CMS Brembana CNC glass machining centers are the #1 choice of automakers, aerospace OEMs, solar panel manufacturers, and countless others. Contact CMS North America today to find out what our glass processing systems can do for you.

Brembana LB 3.70   'CNC Machining Centers

CMS Brembana: The Future of CNC Glass Cutting

Glass cutting is a wide-ranging industry, serving everything from building construction to electronics manufacturing. It’s also a difficult industry to excel in: accurately cutting glass is one thing, doing it over and over and over again—and getting it right every time—is something else entirely. But with a CNC glass machining center from CMS North America, high speed, highly accurate, and highly repeatable glass cutting and finishing has never been easier.

The Right Glass Machining Solution for Any Application

Every glass machining application is different, and requires a different set of capabilities for optimum success. To meet your unique glass cutting needs, CMS North America offers the Brembana family of CNC glass machining centers. Ranging from simple cutting-table models to vertical glass processing machines to custom systems, the Brembana line has the perfect solution for every application.

Built on our 30-plus years of experience and innovation, our CNC technology provides one-of-a-kind versatility for the machining of complex glass pieces. Our glass cutting systems can perform cutting, grooving, and beveling operations, 3- and 4-axis routing, and full 5-axis machining. No design is too intricate and no tolerance is too tight for CMS CNC technology.

        Solar Panels

With work spindles ranging from 18 to 40 HP available, capable of speeds up to 15,000 RPM, Brembana glass machining centers provide high speed cutting, shaping, and finishing. Automatic cooling and lubrication systems ensure continued performance over long machining processes and high volume production runs.

Our glass machining systems are readily compatible with numerous digital file formats—including CAD and CAM—allowing you to directly input your design files. Your finished parts will match your designs exactly, and you’ll never need to worry about details getting lost or jumbled in translation. Digital compatibility, combined with high precision CNC machining capabilities, guarantees perfect part-to-part repeatability from the first piece to the last.

Select Brembana models are available with optional dual cutting heads for even greater productivity. This allows two different machining operations to be performed simultaneously, or two separate workpieces to be machined at once. Optional automatic tool changers can further reduce production time.


The World’s Best Glass CNC Machining Systems

CMS Brembana CNC glass machining centers are the #1 choice of automakers, aerospace OEMs, solar panel manufacturers, and countless others. Contact CMS North America today to find out what our glass processing systems can do for you.

Brembana LB 3.70   'CNC Machining Centers